AB Meals Cheered by Primark’s File Reopening After Revenue Hunch
By James Davey
The group, which additionally owns sugar, grocery, agriculture and substances companies, mentioned on Tuesday its adjusted revenue earlier than tax fell to 319 million kilos ($446 million) within the 24 weeks to Feb. 27 from 636 million a 12 months earlier.
Group income fell 17% to six.3 billion kilos pushed by the lack of retail gross sales as most of Primark’s shops had been closed for greater than half the interval.
Primark, which doesn’t commerce on-line, noticed its adjusted working revenue droop 90% to 43 million kilos.
Shares in AB Meals had been down 2.3% at 0809 GMT.
Nevertheless, the group mentioned Primark recorded document gross sales in England and Wales within the week after shops reopened on April 12.
“The reopening final week in England and Wales has gone fantastically properly,” CEO George Weston advised Reuters.
“In contrast with the (finish of the) final lockdown once we bought numerous pyjamas and numerous loungewear and numerous underwear, this time the excessive gross sales have been throughout the classes excluding journey,” he mentioned.
The group expects 68% of Primark’s retail promoting house to be open by the tip of April. It estimates it can lose gross sales value 700 million kilos in its second half due to retailer closures, up from a earlier forecast of 480 million kilos.
Weston mentioned the group’s confidence was mirrored in its choices to repay to authorities 121 million kilos of job retention scheme assist for the 2020-21 monetary 12 months and to declare an interim dividend of 6.2 pence. It cancelled the interim and full-year funds final 12 months.
The group’s grocery division, with manufacturers that embody Kingsmill bread and Twinings tea, reported a 5% enhance in revenue, whereas greater costs drove sugar revenue 450% greater. Revenue for agriculture rose 19% and for substances 26%.
The group forecast a softer efficiency from its meals companies within the second half and expects full 12 months revenue for Primark to be “considerably decrease” than for 2019-20.
(Reporting by James Davey; enhancing by Sarah Younger and Barbara Lewis)